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First, what is a smart home? It is technology that has been integrated into your home, some of it has to be hardwired into your home while others are devices that communicate via Wi-fi. You now have the potential to control an enumerable amount of devices through movement or sounds, I have even seen some that use vibrations.
Set up your own security system? Check.
Have your entire house change mood lighting with a single phrase. Yep.
Keep an eye on an elderly family member. That too.
A personal assistant who plays music and will help you with your cooking by reading recipes or setting timers all without having to wash those chickeny hands! Yeah, even that.
Save you money by reducing your energy bill. That one is easy!
Control your home remotely? Piece of cake!
Technology has filtered its way into all aspects of our lives, and I imagine that slowly smart technology in homes will become standard. I have noticed as a Realtor, that when I encounter smart technology on a house, the buyers more often than not are excited, and it is one of the things they recall about the house after.
So where do you start?
For me, I just started my journey into changing our house into a smart home last year. Being a mom of three boys, I NEVER buy anything for myself. So when my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I felt like a splurge. After watching countless Youtube videos and articles, I told my husband that I wanted a Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit, and an Amazon Echo. I chose the SmartThings Starter Kit because I like all the things you can do with security, cameras, alert you if a window is open. (Good for burglars and wayward children!) The company is also large and more prominent in the Smart Home field which while slightly more costly, is better supported than some of the smaller companies. The Echo, I chose because it seemed better established than the Google Home, who just entered the scene in 2015 and has some catching up to do program wise. The Echo has had a large impact in my life; music is so much more often playing in my home now, which means more dancing and lifted spirits.
Now, if you are more interested in lighting, I would suggest a Philips White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit to start instead.
How does it work?
First, you must get a hub, this device receives and delivers transmissions to all your other devices and allows for their control. A few of the devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat and the personal assistant devices, while able to integrate with the hub can operate independently if you wish.
You can control your hub through your computer, smartphone, or through a personal assistant device like Amazon Echo, or Google Home.
Click to Enlarge!
What are the downsides?
Where ever technology goes there is always someone ready to exploit it, will this make your home vulnerable to hacking? There have already been some reports of abuse.
This is a rapidly developing technology, and it can be costly, and wildly variable. There are so many products out there it could take you weeks of research to learn everything.
Setting up a program with your hub so you can holler at your personal assistant to turn off the lights or turn on the tv, while having echoes of a starship captain commanding his ship, in reality, is spending quite a bit of money and time to set everything up. If you want your Smart Home technology to perform useful tasks, you will have to buy several other devices after the starter kit. Our decision? We just ordered our Nest 2 Outdoor and 1 Indoor Camera Bundle.